Don’t be surprised if you begin seeing black bears roaming around in the coming weeks. This is the time of the year when they get more active and begin looking for food again. 

  • Bear Warriors United helping people bear-proof their trash cans
  • Bear-resistant trash cans can cost around $200
  • Volunteers say they can bear-proof a can for around $5
  • RELATED: Living with Florida Black Bears

One group is working to keep those bears out of neighborhoods – which can lead to dangerous interactions with people.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say having a bear-resistant trash can is the simplest thing people can do to keep black bears away.

“I wanted to figure out a way to get bears and people to live together,” said Jim Durocher, a volunteer with Bear Warriors United. “We’ve only had the problems with a few attacks because the bears and people are interacting because of garbage.”

But at about $200 a can, many people still don’t buy them. So Jim Durocher began tinkering with tools, and came up with an inexpensive way to make trash cans bear-proof.

“I can do a can for about $5,” said Durocher.

Durocher drills two straps with plastic buckles to the front opening of the can. They make it nearly impossible for a black bear to get inside.

FWC has approved Durocher’s bear-proofed cans as an alternative to manufactured bear-resistant cans. Several and city and county leaders have taken notice.

Bear Warriors United gathers donations to pay for the costs of retrofitting the cans. Durocher and volunteers travel to neighborhoods across Central Florida to bear-proof people’s trash cans.

Durocher recently retro-fitted several of his neighbor’s cans in his DeLand neighborhood.

“He takes care of all the neighbors, helps the bears and keeps the bears out of our trash cans,” said Ken Renfro, a DeLand resident.

Durocher says so far the inexpensive bear-proof cans have held up.

You can watch a step-by-step video on YouTube that Jim made. It shows you how to bear-proof a trash can yourself.